You're Welcome, Universe
Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award
When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.
Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a "mainstream" school in the suburbs, where she's treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.
Out in the 'burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off--and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.
Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia's graffiti tags, You're Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.
" A] spectacular debut...a moving, beautifully written contemporary novel full of quirky art and complicated friendships...this book is a gift to be thankful for."--BookRiot
"The perspective of a strong-willed, deaf protagonist is unique, enlightening, and a great addition to young adult collections."--VOYA, Starred Review
"[A] spectacular debut...a moving, beautifully written contemporary novel full of quirky art and complicated friendships...this book is a gift to be thankful for."--BookRiot
"Julia...is a Deaf teen girl who is creative, artistic, and passionate. She can be sulky and vengeful when she feels she has been wronged, but she is also caring and fiercely loyal to the few that she considers friends. And she is an authentic portrayal of deafness."--DisabilityInKidLit.com
"Fresh and compelling...a satisfying story about trust, forgiveness, hard work, and friendship."--Publishers Weekly
"Julia's strong voice and multifaceted background offer an eye-catching glimpse of graffiti culture while introducing deaf culture."--Kirkus
"This debut novel is a dive into self-discovery for Julia and a compelling, engaging read for a wide variety of teens, including those interested in graffiti and street art. [A] well-told, artsy coming-of-age tale that is also an excellent representation of a Deaf protagonist."--School Library Journal
"Gardner brings together Deaf culture, discrimination, sexuality, friendship, body image, trust, betrayal, and even a potential Banksy spotting for this fresh novel, brightened by black-and-white illustrations from Julia's notebooks."--Booklist
"The Deaf details are enveloping and credible without being forced, and Julia's artistry will make readers itch to get their fingers on a can of spray paint."--The Bulletin
WHITNEY GARDNER played her ukulele in an episode of Portlandia, danced the rumba with Bill Nye the Science Guy in a New York swing-dance club, and experimented with LARPing in college. She lives with her husband, Roger, and their incredibly cool pugs, Gouda and Fig, in Portland, Oregon. Find her online at heywhitney.com and follow her at @HeyWhitney.